Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 37573505
Link to DOI – 10.1016/j.celrep.2023.112977
Cell Rep 2023 Aug; 42(8): 112977
Arthropod-borne viruses (arboviruses) transmitted by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are an increasing threat to global health. The small interfering RNA (siRNA) pathway is considered the main antiviral immune pathway of insects, but its effective impact on arbovirus transmission is surprisingly poorly understood. Here, we use CRISPR-Cas9-mediated gene editing in vivo to mutate Dicer2, a gene encoding the RNA sensor and key component of the siRNA pathway. The loss of Dicer2 enhances early viral replication and systemic viral dissemination of four medically significant arboviruses (chikungunya, Mayaro, dengue, and Zika viruses) representing two viral families. However, Dicer2 mutants and wild-type mosquitoes display overall similar levels of vector competence. In addition, Dicer2 mutants undergo significant virus-induced mortality during infection with chikungunya virus. Together, our results define a multifaceted role for Dicer2 in the transmission of arboviruses by Ae. aegypti mosquitoes and pave the way for further mechanistic investigations.